NEWBURYPORT – A Chelmsford mother and daughter caught on video while shoplifting from two downtown businesses over the summer were ordered to pay restitution to both stores.
Lori Arnold, 59, and Samantha Arnold, 25, both of 58 Locke Road, were also banned on Friday from Simply Sweet and Harbor Creamery for a year after they admitted a judge or jury could find them guilty of shoplifting if they went to trial, according to Newburyport District Court records.
The charges against them were continued without a finding for a year. During that time, they must pay $300 in court costs, $100 in fines and stay away from Harbor Creamery on Pleasant Street and Simply Sweet on Inn Street. The Arnolds also were ordered to pay $50 to Simply Sweet and $5 to Harbor Creamery.
If the women comply with all orders and stay out of trouble with the law, the charges against them would be dropped after a year.
When reached by phone, Simply Sweet owner Wendy Smith said she received a check in the mail from the Arnolds on Monday. While Smith said she was pleased to be reimbursed for what was stolen, “They shouldn’t have taken it in the first place.”
The Arnolds’ court appearances were made possible through social media after Smith checked a private Facebook group of local business owners. Smith went to the Greater Newburyport Chamber of Commerce & Industry’s page soon after the Arnolds stole roughly $50 in candy from her store Aug. 5.
She discovered that Harbor Creamery owner Merri-Lee Steeves also reported having shoplifters in her store the same day.
Steeves, who is married to Newburyport police Sgt. William Steeves, checked her security camera video and saw two women stuff about $5 worth of candy in their pocketbooks and then leave without paying.
She then sent the video clips and screenshots of the two women to local police.
“The screenshots were of the suspects from behind and they were wearing the exact clothing of the two suspects in the Simply Sweet incident,” Newburyport police Inspector Christopher McDonald wrote in his report.
Merri-Lee Steeves put the word out on Facebook for local retailers to check their security cameras for the women.
Smith checked her security video and found two women putting candy into their pocketbooks before leaving without paying.
With the help of the two business owners, Newburyport police Officer Derek Paru identified the two women as Lori and Samantha Arnold.
“I spoke to Lori on the phone and she was apologetic and was upfront about it. She admitted to me that she shoplifted and she realizes the mistake she made,” Paru wrote in his report.
Daily News reporter Jim Sullivan contributed to this report. Staff writer Dave Rogers can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org. Follow him on Twitter @drogers41008.